AB de Villiers quits international cricket, ‘tired’ and ‘running out of gas’

NEW DELHI: South African superstar AB de Villiers has announced his retirement from international cricket, two days after his IPL franchise Royal Challengers Bangalore exited the 11th season of the lucrative Twenty20 league in which his exhilarating batting and pyrotechnics in the field have further endeared him to a legion of Indian fans.

He announced his decision on Twitter on Wednesday bringing to a close an International career that spanned 114 Tests, 228 ODIs and 78 Twenty20 internationals from which de Villiers scored over 20,014 runs. The 34-year-old bows out as South Africa’s fourth most successful Test batsman with 8765 runs at 50.66, second-highest run-getter in ODIs with 9577 at 53.50 and second in T20Is with 1672 at 26.12. He scored 22 Test centuries and 25 in ODIs, with a best of 79* in T20Is.

In announcing his retirement from the international game, de Villiers said he was “tired” and “running out of gas”.

“I have decided to retire from all international cricket with immediate effect. After 114 Test matches, 228 ODIs and 78 T20 internationals, it is time for others to take over. I have had my turn, and to be honest, I am tired,” said the former South African captain. “This is a tough decision, I have thought long and hard about it and I’d like to retire while still playing decent cricket. After the fantastic series wins against India and Australia, now feels like the right time to step aside.”

“It would not be right for me to pick and choose where, when and in what format I play for the Proteas. For me, in the green and gold, it must be everything or nothing. I will always be grateful to the coaches and staff of Cricket South Africa for their support through all these years,” said de Villiers.

“The most important thank you goes out to all of my team mates throughout my career, I wouldn’t be half the player that I am without the support throughout the years. It’s not about earning more somewhere else, it’s about running out of gas and feeling that it is the right time to move on. Everything comes to an end. To the cricket fans around South Africa and the World, thank you for your kindness and generosity, and today, for your understanding.

De Villiers went on to say that he had “no plans to play overseas” and hoped to continue playing for his domestic team, Titans.

De Villiers made his debut in the format in December 2004 at Port Elizabeth, scoring 28 and 14 while opening the batting with his former captain Smith, in a seven-wicket loss to England. His first century came in his fifth Test, also against England, a match in which he made 92 in the first innings.

Since then, he morphed into a world-class batsman capable of shredding bowling attacks in any conditions whole captivating audiences around the world. The first of his two Test double-centuries was an attacking 217 not out against India at Ahmedabad in April 2008, a match that South Africa wrapped up in three days. His career-best of 278* was scored against Pakistan at Abu Dhabi in November 2010, a superb effort that in the company of Kallis helped South Africa recover from 33/3 to 584.

Among his most brutal hundreds are 129 from 112 balls against India at Centurion in 2010, 103 not out from 109 balls versus West Indies at Durban in 2008, 169 off 184 balls against Australia at Perth in 2012 and 163 off 196 also against Australia at Cape Town in 2009. In matches won, de Villiers averages 65.93, scoring 15 of his 21 centuries in South African victories. Of his 21 Test centuries, nine have been in excess of 150.

In ODIs, he will forever be associated with having scored the fastest (to date) centuries, off 31 balls against West Indies in Johannesburg in 2015. De Villiers scored 24 ODI centuries and finishes with a batting strike-rate of 101.09. Among his other stunning match-winning ODI innings are 102* off 59 balls versus India in 2010, 162* off 66 balls versus West Indies during the 2015 ICC World Cup, 119 off 61 balls against India in a must-win ODI in Mumbai in 2015 and 121 off 85 balls to beat England in 2009.

On the IPL, for RCB de Villiers has so far scored 3314 runs at an average of 41.31 and strike-rate of 159.89, with two centuries and 25 half-centuries. In IPL 2018 he made 480 runs at 53.33.

De Villiers kept wickets in 24 of his 114 Tests, and during that time his batting average was 57.41, significantly higher than an overall average of 50.66. Across his Test career, de Villiers has won five Man-of-the-Match awards and four Man-of-the-Series awards.

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